I think we are on the same page.
Yes, you are correct in observing that a great many knives are not sharpened in any way, shape or form near their potential. To be fair, I'm not sure that many clients/owners care.
To a serious collector and polisher this might seem odd. After all, you've paid good money for the knife, why then wouldn't you want the best?
This is a paradox I see daily. A client buys a good santoku knife--pays me a small fortune to put a sashimi quality edge on it--and then runs it through the dishwasher!
But then, a client might save a few bucks buying a cheap knife--constructed of mundane steel and hardened off of the chart for edge retention--and then he complains about chipping. He sneers at my repair cost.
I follow the work of Paul Bos and the work he has done for Strider and for Buck. He has raised the bar for the industry and given us modern steels with proper heat treatment.
After three years, some of my clients at the sporting goods store now flip over the package of a new knife, or check the ricasso, for the alloy of the steel. They google metalurgy info, and they ask me knowledgeable questions, where they previously just asked for "sharp."
They have become enlightened consumers.
Let me address the concept of "thinning" and "shortening life of the knife."
Yes, some clients are asking questions, but most do not.
They buy a knife like people buy a shoe horn. It's just a piece of metal which acts as a tool.
When this mindset occurs, they treat knives like screwdrivers. "If it breaks, I'll but another."
After watching me sharpen, some clients want the convenience of sharpening at home. Rather than call Ben Dale, they buy the first diamond they see on the shelf. And in many cases, they remove far too much metal.
The issue is that they still treat knives like pry bars. As knives are thinned--but still abused--the chances of damage increase.
I would guess that +10% of all knives I see have some part of the tip broken off. I charge to fashion a new tip.
The clients don't seem to mind. In fact, they tell me about needing the knife for a Phillips screwdriver in relating a humorous story.
If all of my clients were KF members, I would get pristine knives that had simply gone dull from responsible use. But I found knives at one of Madison's high-end restaurants that appeared to be maintained by journeymen blacksmiths. Abuse is common.
In that regard, a knife with "a little meat on its bones" gives me a fighting chance for repair.
Thin knives lead some pretty short lives.
Edited by The Tourist on 12-18-06 15:56.22. Reason for edit: No reason given.